The City of Lancaster has been shaped by more than 250 years of history, which is reflected in its unique collection of historic buildings and neighborhoods.

Although the City’s residential character is largely defined by neighborhoods filled with late nineteenth-century Victorian era rowhouses, Lancaster has a wealth of historic buildings dating from the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s that are representative of diverse architectural styles and functions.

A building’s architectural “style” is a combination of its age, shape, building materials, and ornamentation. Typically, architectural styles flourish for a number of years, overlap with other periods and styles, and subsequently fall out of fashion, but never at a precise date. View the “Timeline of Architectural Styles” to see when common styles were popular in Lancaster. Keep in mind that not every building can be assigned a stylistic label, since some structures might be composites or mixtures of elements from several styles. Categorizing buildings by architectural styles, however, does help to arrange them chronologically and explains the influences on their physical appearances.

There are eleven common architectural styles found in Lancaster, look at the following links for information on typical design features that characterize that style, and to see photographs of buildings in Lancaster that are representative of each style.

German or Colonial Style (1710-1770)
Georgian Style (1730-1790)
Federal Style (1790-1835)
Classic Revival Style (1840-1860)
Italianate Style (1850-1895)
Second Empire Style (1860-1895)
Queen Anne Style (1876-1910)
Romanesque Revival Style (1860-1900)
Beaux Arts Style (1880-1930)
Colonial Revival Style (1880-1955)
Art Deco Style (1925-1945)